Dr. Dog- Live at a Flamingo Hotel (ALBUM REVIEW)

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drdogliveOver the past few years Dr. Dog has morphed from a shaggy bunch of road warriors into a must see live act who are known to throw down 25+ song set lists, fluctuating between wild abandon and laser precision. Their fan base has expanded primarily on the backs of these infectious shows and Live at a Flamingo Hotel is the first release that hopes to capture the group’s in-the-moment spirit.

Not an individual show, this release is a compilation of some of the band’s more road tested songs as well as a few rare gems from their 2014 tour. Dr Dog never played a “Flamingo Hotel” and wanted the title to prove that they will go all out for their fans no matter what venue they are playing on that night. The running order is a bit of a variation for long time fans but that unique presentation allows for a new look at songs.

Opening with some causally efficient versions of “These Days” and “Old Black Hole” the band eases the listener into their world. A highlight here and a reason to grab this release quickly, is the band’s cover of Architecture in Helsinki’s “Heart It Races” which has become an encore favorite when Dr. Dog layers its harmonies onto the track.

Other songs that prove unique in the live setting is the organ fueled “Too Weak To Ramble” which keeps the studio version’s passionate vocals but adds lush instrumentation. “Jackie Wants a Black Eye” has a loose feel helping to get the crowd involved while “Stranger” pumps up the energy and the band’s trademark gorgeous harmonies.

In the end though none of the live performances end up markedly better than their studio versions, making this release more of a fan purchase than an album that will bring new listeners into the fold. However, flourishes like the pulsing “Heavy Light” build, the country sway of  “County Line” and the theatrics in “Shadow People” will be appreciated by all who hear them.

Almost all live albums suffer from the “you had to be there” problem and this is no exception but Dr Dog do prove why catching them live is a must these days. The six-piece from Philly have an astounding back catalog and Live from a Flamingo Hotel will only enhances the bands charm, range and fan devotion.

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